Investigating Alice 3

I have to admit I’m a little bit sceptical about the benefits of using Alice in the classroom compared with other applications. However I do have to teach it this year, so today I have tasked myself with investigating how it works and what resources I can find. My biggest question is what can I do with it?

First step installation:
http://www.alice.org/index.php?page=downloads/download_alice3.1

Now to try out the various instruction manuals:
http://www.alice.org/3.1/index.html

Carnegie Mellon first
http://www.alice.org/3.1/materials_introduction.php

Ugh the format is powerpoint, will have to convert first! Thankyou google slides.

The first slides tell me I will be learning “how to program in the context of animation, simulation, storytelling, and building short games”. Sounds promising so far.
I am liking their slides so far, nice descriptions and explanations. Although they are perhaps pitched at my level rather than the students I will be teaching. They are explaining objects, instances and inheritance really well.

I’ve done the first set, but I just want to make something … not just have concepts explained. Think I will move onto another tutorial. If I’m bored I imagine my students would be too. The first few tutorials are well worth using the concepts for, but then I think it goes into too much depth and not enough doing.

Collin College
http://www.alice.org/ATE/materials_collin.html

This tells you how to do it in Alice and then how to do the same thing in Java. Definitely not what I am looking for at the moment.

How to Guide
http://www.alice.org/3.1/materials_guide.php

A useful reference

Oracle Academy
https://academy.oracle.com/self-study/alice/index.html

This one is a good step by step progression and very easy to follow. A good resource for students to work through as well if they need to know how to do something specific.

There are also these which could be used in the classroom:
https://academy.oracle.com/self-study/alice/alice_14_1.html

So in conclusion the Carnegie Mellon is good for explaining Object Oriented concepts and the Oracle one is good for a quick run through that I would base a demonstration for students on.

I can see that this will take a bit more time for me to get my head around the full extent of what can be done, rather than just simple animations. And I think that unless you get the students to fully understand the concepts and in addition write their own procedures the benefit of using this in the classroom is lost. It would merely become a cool 3D animator.

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